The Tories made society more unequal - and so have Blair and Brown

Submitted by martin on 5 January, 2010 - 6:45 Author: Martin Thomas

The richest 10% own 44% of all wealth in the UK. They own, of course, the great bulk of the shares and other financial assets in private hands; they also, less obviously, own the big majority of the wealth held in pension-fund assets.

Quite a lot of people outside the top 10% may own a house. But the top 10% hold about 37% of real-estate wealth, too.

Inequality of income has also been rising. Its big jump came in the 1980s, with the Thatcher Tory government. But since 1997 inequality has continued to rise, more slowly, and mostly driven by runaway rises for the very well-off.

New figures from the Institute of Fiscal Studies also tell us something about "average income". The average individual adult income in the UK in 2007-8 was £487 a week, £25,324 per year.

Not too bad? But if one person has a million pounds, and 999 have nothing, then there is an "average" of £1000 per person which tells you nothing about the plight of the 999. "Average" (mean) income figures have the same problem: a minority on very high incomes ups the average.
The median income - the figure which 50% of adults are below, 50% above - was £393 per week, £20,436 per year. And the mode - the most common income level - was about £300 per week, or £15,600 per year.

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